Whether you have any experience in gambling or not, you’ve almost certainly heard of the term, “poker face” – even if it is just because of Lady Gaga’s breakout hit single. But when it comes to gambling, having a good poker face is about a lot more than a catchy tune. In essence, it can dictate your success in the game.
Because, after all, playing a game like poker isn’t like all other forms of gambling. When you’re playing blackjack, for instance, you’re playing against the House. But when you’re playing poker, you’re playing to win real money from other players.
Thus, your ability to read other people is just as important as your ability to hide your intentions and throw your competitor off their game, disguising your next move. And in the world of poker, it all comes down to having a good poker face.
What is a Poker Face?
The simple explanation is that a poker face is the ability to maintain a sense of mystery. That is, to keep your opponent guessing what your next move is. After all, only half of the game is about the pack of cards in front of you and the hand each of you are dealt – the other half is about how well you can read and play the player.
Therefore, a poker face allows you to throw them off the scent and not allow them to latch onto any tells.
What Are Tells?
Tells are different from person to person, and not everybody has one. If you do, however, it’s often considered a flat-out weakness, but if you’re smart about it, it can be used in your favour as well.
A tell is something that a player does subconsciously whenever they have either a very good or a very bad hand. For instance, it may be a little cough, running their hands through their hair or leaning backwards. Most people do little things like these when they’re focused on not revealing their hand, accidentally revealing everything in the process.
But how can you use a tell to your advantage? Well, one way to do this may be to start off by trying to convince your opponent that you have a tell in the first place. This is all about playing the long game, and it requires a fair bit of acting. A player would need to start subtly demonstrating this tell without revealing that they’re doing it intentionally, so that the opponent will believe it’s subconscious. Then, if they believe it to be authentic, the player can use this tell to try and throw their opponent off their track. Pretty sneaky, right?
How Can You Use Emotion in Poker?
Now, making use of a good poker face and tactical tells is all about emotion. But how exactly can you use emotion in poker? Well, you need to be able to master your own emotions and the way in which you demonstrate them.
First, it all comes down to self-awareness. While you may be completely focused on reading your opponent, you cannot forget, not even for a second, that your opponent is constantly trying to read you. Therefore, you need to be self-aware – consider the ways in which you may come across. That is, it’s essential to understand the ways in which you may exhibit emotions such as anger, happiness, frustration and so on with physical mannerisms. Once you can recognise these things in yourself, not only will it be far easier for you to control them, but it’ll also be easier for you to recognise these things in other people.
Second, you need to tap into your emotional intelligence. Understanding and recognising what emotions may look like on somebody else is one thing, but having the ability to be able to control and manage these emotions yourself is another, whether you’re at a poker table or playing online at Jackpot Wheel. Thus, it all comes down to being able to keep yourself cool, calm and collected – don’t allow yourself to act out of emotion. Your expression needs to be neutral and calm at all times. Not only will this make it more difficult for your opponent to read you, but it’ll also allow you to actually remain calm when you’re making big decisions.
Third, practice it in your daily life. That’s not to say that you should always try to hide your emotions and read everybody around you. However, adult life comes with a certain degree of managing emotions – imagine if professionals were to fly off the handle every time they got upset. Rather, people remain calm, think rationally and make decisions from a point of relaxation – well, in theory, at least. Thus, this is the same thing you need to do when playing poker, you’ll just need to do it in a far more extreme form.
So, What Are the Benefits of Having a Good Poker Face?
Well, by now it should be clear that being able to have a good poker face will allow you to manipulate your opponent’s decision making by convincing them you’re feeling one thing when you’re actually feeling something completely different. If you are able to convince them of this without even having to say a word, then you can rest assured that you must have a pretty good poker face.
In a practical sense, and a little bit more down to the nitty gritty, having a good poker face may lead to your opponent becoming flustered and confused when they aren’t able to predict what you’re going to do next. Consequently, it’s likely that their own poker face won’t be as strong because they’ll be focusing so hard on trying to read yours – the chances of them revealing their hand is pretty strong at this point. Of course, the ultimate advantage of being able to have a good poker face is that you will, ultimately win the entire game. That is, you’ll be able to fool your opponent into believing whatever you want them to believe. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win at poker!